Issue n. 12
July 15, 2001
~~~ ARLECCHINO NEWSLETTER
~~~ A free bi-weekly newsletter of 275 subscribers
~~~ on the discussion of topics related to
~~~ the made-in-Italy products, to the Italian way of life
~~~ and more generally to the Italian style.
~~~ supported by Studiosoft at http://www.studiosoft.it
~~~ Marco Piazzalunga, Publisher
~~~ Vol. 3, issue #12, July 15, 2001
IN THIS ISSUE
New Topics on Fine Arts in Italy/Europe (2)
1) Futurismo in Rome, 400 works on display
2) Caravaggio and the Genius of Rome
by Stan Getz
New Topics on Italian style (2)
1) The 58th Mostra Internazionale dArte Cinematografica di Venezia
by Alberto Barbera
2) Enchanted Realm of Upper Lake Garda
by David Leibowitz
New Topics on Italian handicraft works of art (2)
1) Selling Crafts in Today's Economy
by Carmelo Lizzio
2) A Piece of Sicily
by Maurizio Romano
New Topics on Italian/European antique & collectibles (2)
1) Sothebys and Christies Part I Impressionist and Modern sales
2) Taking care of your glass
by Concetto Fusillo
-----====(* FINE ARTS IN ITALY & EUROPE *)====-----
Subject: Futurismo in Rome, 400 works on display.
ROME, July 03, 2001 - It will be the largest exhibit on Futurism ever staged in Italy.
Four hundred works will be on display from July 7 to October 22, at the Palazzo delle
Esposizioni in Rome.
The display, 'Futurismo 1909-1944', will include paintings, graphic art, architectural
plans, furnishings, sketches and photographs. The event aims to illustrate the birth and
development of the artistic movement until the death of Marinetti, the undisputed leader
It has been a good 20 years since Futurism has been at the center of a major event in
Italy. After a show in Turin and another in Venice 6 years later, the only displays have
been partial or minor initiatives.
The four sections of the exhibit will cover work that preceded the birth of Futurism, such
as pieces by Balla, Boccioni, Carra' and Severini; works that represent the evolution of
the movement; pieces of so-called 'mechanical art'; and various art forms that
incorporated Futurism, such as architectural plans, advertising and sketches by such
artists as Balla and clothing designer Laura Biagiotti.
Subject: Caravaggio and the Genius of Rome
ROME, July, 05, 2001 - Palazzo Venezia, Rome, until July 31, Exhibition - "Caravaggio
and the genius of Rome. 1592 - 1623". Entrance: Palazzo di Venezia, Via del
"The Holy Family with St. John", which is perhaps the only painting among the
known works of Caravaggio not to have been exhibited to date, can be admired in the
exhibition currently being held at Palazzo Venezia in Rome.
In addition to this splendid masterpiece, another 18 masterpieces by this great artist can
be admired among the 170 works on display which come from all corners of the world. Among
these, there is also "The Conversion of Saul" which belongs to the private
Odescalchi Collection and which is hardly ever exhibited.
The exhibition comes to Rome after the exceptional success it had at the Royal Academy of
Arts in London. For this version of the exhibition, around 80 paintings have been added in
order to offer a more complete panorama of the artistic situation in Rome at that time.
The paintings have been added in order to highlight the artistic figures who were the
protagonists of Roman creativity from 1592 to 1623.
The exhibition begins with the first of the four Roman "schools", Caravaggio's
school and we can see a series of undeniable masterpieces, among them "The Boy Bitten
by the Green Lizard" from the National Gallery in London, "Judith" and
"Narcissus" from Palazzo Barberini, "St. John" from the Corsini
Gallery and the first version of "The Fall of Saul".
Some of the most important works of great artists like Manfredi, Ribera, Cecca del
Caravaggio, Spadarino and Carlo Saraceni are on display alongside Caravaggio's
Do not miss "The Visitation" by Bartolomeo Cavarozzi which is on loan from
The second school which is Carracci's school includes the altarpiece from the Church of
San Onofrio and paintings by Reni -"St. Cecilia"-, Albani -"The Rape of
Europe" - and Domenichino - "St. Agnes", the latter being extremely similar
to "The Virgin with the Unicorn" found in the Farnese vault.
Whoever visits this part of the exhibition will find himself face to face with many
"new" works: two masterpieces by Lanfranco, two works by Sisto Badalocchio and a
painting by Guercino showing "St. Jerome signing a letter" which was discovered
recently in the storerooms of the National Gallery of Palazzo Barberini.
The third school is the school of Giuseppe Cesari, known as the "Cavalier
d'Arpino", prince of the reform of late mannerism and Clement VIII's favourite
painter of whose studio was also frequented by the young Caravaggio.
The exhibition contains a series of works by the "Cavalier d'Arpino" from
different periods which give an overall view of his many-sided artistic activity.
The fourth school groups together a large number of artists under a rather curious
heading: " (painters) who have worked in a new way and without particularly following
in the footsteps of anyone". The ample group of Tuscan painters who played a very
important role in the Roman art scene from the last decade of the 1500's through to the
1620's feature in this part of the exhibition.
-------=======(* ITALIAN STYLE *)=======-------
Subject: The 58th Mostra Internazionale dArte Cinematografica di Venezia
VENICE, July 08, 2001 - The 58th Mostra Internazionale dArte Cinematografica di
Venezia directed by Alberto Barbera (Venezia Lido, 29 August - 8 September) will contain a
number of significant innovations.
In order to keep track of technical, production and geographical changes of a cinema which
is no longer the same as before, the first Mostra del Cinema of the new Millenniun is also
changing. As of this year, there will be two main sections, both of them competitive.
Different and complementary in format, these two sections will be accompanied by a
workshop section, providing a window to view new technologies and personal
The following is a brief summary of the new programme for the Festival:
This includes the International Competition for Feature Films and a selection of Out of
Competition films. The work of filmmakers with the most accomplished and personal visions,
alongside original and innovative examples of 'big entertainment' cinema.
-Cinema of the Present-
A new competition rather than another competition. Cinema as it is today, in its various
trends and forms. Debut and fringe films, but also works that relate to current genres and
production, with the aim of providing innovation and creative originality. The Jury will
be made up of personalities from the world of cinema, each representing a film magazine
from a different country.
A workshop-section. The many forms of contemporary research and experimentation. The
multiplication of techniques and formats, the contamination of genres and languages, the
exchange between cinema and the other arts, as well as the persistence of a 'high'
artistic tradition that challenges new technologies.
There are also changes in the prizes and awards. A total of three Lions will be awarded by
three different juries. One Golden Lion for the Best Film in the -Venice 58- competition;
one Lion of the Year for the best film in the -Cinema of the Present- competition
(accompanied by a cheque for 100,000 dollars) and one Lion of the Future to be awarded to
the winner of the 'Luigi De Laurentiis - Venice First Film' competition (accompanied by a
100,000 dollar prize offered by Filmauro and 20,000 metres of film offered by Kodak).
Subject: Enchanted Realm of Upper Lake Garda
VERONA Italy, July 12, 2001 - High above the shimmering waters of Lake Garda lies a
remarkable protected mountain wilderness and rural community. The Comunità Montana Alto
Garda Bresciano owes its dramatic position to the massive glacier that carved out the
region some 15,000 years ago. Peaks of over 2,000 m rise spectacularly from the lake
surface, protecting the great body of water from the brunt of winter storms and lending it
a mild, semi-Mediterranean climate. Palm trees and olive groves are in evidence along the
shore, as are lemon trees, which were first cultivated here in the 15th century. Above the
coastal zone lies a steeply sloped forest, dominated by chestnut and beech trees except
where cleared to make way for a farm or terraced village. Higher than 1,300 m the climate
takes a turn toward the alpine, with tundra-like crests covered with snow or carpeted with
flowers depending on the season. The rugged, limestone mountains have been strikingly
carved over the centuries, much like the neighboring Dolomites, and there are many natural
caves and tunnels cut through the rock.
The Alto Garda Bresciano bears a few scars underneath its seemingly ideal natural
atmosphere. The lakeside town of Salò was the center of Mussolini's last-stand republic,
while the rough, eerie terrain above Limone sul Garda was a theater of action during the
First World War. Those exploring the region will see reminders of this troubled past,
whether passing by a ruined fort, blast holes on the side of the road, or a war cemetery.
The Lake Garda region witnessed uprisings and battles during the years leading up to the
unification of the Italian State (1861), after which by treaty Austria held on to the
Trentino and the South Tyrol regions, much to the chagrin of many Italian patriots. Great
popular appeal to unite these lands with Italy plunged the new state into the fray of WWI
in 1915. Fierce fighting ensued over ridiculously treacherous terrain from the mountains
above Lake Garda to the Dolomites and Carnian Alps; blows were exchanged over dangerous
mountain crests and even glaciers. In the end a generation was destroyed fighting for a
land that should have been enjoyed peacefully.
The past continues to haunt, but thankfully the past fifty odd years have been peaceful.
Wind-surfers flock to take advantage of the lake's renowned wind, as do sun seekers from
northern Europe looking to relax in one of the several charming lakeside towns. Not nearly
as many visitors venture into the mountain villages, however, where rustic life continues
much as it has over the centuries. Visitors have boosted the economy of the Alto Garda
Bresciano, as biking, hiking and fishing have become popular activities, though as in
other remote regions the local youth must look elsewhere for higher education and to the
cities for employment outside of agriculture or tourism.
------=====(* ITALIAN HANDICRAFT WORKS OF ART *)=====------
Subject: Selling Crafts in Today's Economy
BERGAMO Italy, July 11, 2001 - Selling hand-made items in today's economy is much
different than it was in the "good old days" 10 - 20 years ago! Gone are the
days when you could ensure profitability by simply attending a craft show. In our current
climate, buyers want things fast and cheap! Neither of these conditions come to mind when
thinking of crafts.
But wait! All is not lost. When there is change, the survivors are the ones who learn to
adapt. Believe it or not, there are qualities that small businesses in the hand-made
industry have that can enable them to not only survive, but also to thrive in the present
Are your products of higher quality than the mass-produced, cheap imitations that line the
shelves of the big retail stores? You bet! But simply creating a quality product does not
guarantee that a consumer will notice. Tell your customers what is different about your
work. Point out the superior workmanship whenever you can.
ABILITY TO CHANGE QUICKLY
An often overlooked attribute that small businesses have is the ability to change at
lightning speed! Large, bloated businesses cannot match the small business person's speed
or effectiveness to change.
Is an old show circuit not bringing in the profit that it used to? Then try new shows in
areas you haven't been to! Do you have a Web site? Why not?
Don't be afraid to try new avenues for your business. If something is not working, try new
paths. The point is that small businesses can run circles around big businesses because of
their ability to change quickly. Take advantage of this ability!
No matter how hard they might try, huge businesses cannot guarantee that every employee
will treat their customers as they should be treated. Small business owners have much more
control over customer relationships.
Make it company policy to always greet customers with a smile (no matter how you feel).
Answer all inquiries, whether by phone, mail or email, promptly and thoroughly. If someone
has a legitimate complaint, do your best to resolve the issue.
Your work can be as unique as you are. One of the greatest tools an artist/crafter has is
the ability to produce unique work. While inexpensive, mass-produced items can be created
at a very low cost, they are not unique. Create new designs often and let your customers
know! Since many large companies simply get ideas for new products from the ideas of small
business, we can stay one step ahead by always being innovative. In other words, don't
follow trends... set them!
Subject: A Piece of Sicily
CALTAGIRONE, Italy, July 8, 2001 - Like any other unique work of art, a ceramic piece
begins with an idea. That idea is the vision of an individual artist. Then there's the
material. The clay found in each region of the world is unique. Sicilian clay, used in
terra cotta earthenware over the millennia, is different from the clay of Mexico or
Mongolia because it contains a combination of silicates unique to Sicily. This clay,
freshly mined from the Sicilian mountains and valleys, is molded by hand by ceramic
masters, and then left to dry under the sun.
The object is then painstakingly painted in ornate motifs with rich glazes before being
fired (baked) in a kiln. During this last phase of creation, something miraculous happens.
In the heat, the sun-dried clay hardens to become terra cotta and then crystallizes into
ceramic. Its molecular structure changes, becoming firmer but also more durable. The
glazed enamel also crystallizes, actually binding to the ceramic as it assumes a deeper,
more distinct color.
There are, of course, various decorative ceramic products made in Sicily and sold around
the world. Bearing whimsical or even gaudy motifs, these products are sometimes signed
with an artist's name but actually painted by generic workers, many of whom aren't even
Sicilian. Finding ceramic art that reflects Sicily's true artistic heritage isn't always
easy. You may have to search for it. Caltagirone, Santo Stefano di Camastra and Monreale
are Sicily's most famous ceramic centers.
A CERAMIC CHOICE
Ceramic, terra cotta, maiolica, china, porcelain. What do these terms really mean, and how
will understanding them help you to choose the ceramic art that's right for you?
The most important factor in making your selection is a matter of purely personal taste
--but keep lead content in mind (see note below). Simply a question of what you like and
what you think will look good in your home or office --or the home of the special person
who receives the unique gift of Sicilian ceramic art. Aesthetics aside, the eclectic world
of ceramic art is a fascinating place where artistic dreams become precious family
To many of us, the very word "ceramic" conjures images of plain wall tiles like
the ones in our kitchens. The word "ceramics" brings to mind molded clay
articles sold in craft shops. While neither perception is actually incorrect, each
reflects only a very small facet of the world of ceramics. In its most general sense,
"ceramic," from the Greek keramos (potter's clay), describes a vast array of
artistic techniques leading to the creation of items fashioned from hardened or baked
-----===(* ITALIAN/EUROPEAN ANTIQUE & COLLECTIBLES *)===-----
Subject: Sothebys and Christies Part I Impressionist and Modern sales
LONDON, July 02, 2001 - The London art market breathed a general sigh of relief last week
after Sothebys and Christies Part I Impressionist and Modern sales belied the
atmosphere of economic uncertainty with a clutch of high prices for classic works by the
major names of late 19th and early 20th century art.
Coincidentally, both houses notched up identical totals of £33.4m with healthy lottage
selling rates of 75 per cent. However, the overall total of £94.5m achieved by all
Sothebys and Christies Impressionist, Modern and Post-War offerings, including
the Part II and Works on Paper sales, was £7.5m down on last year and buying by US
collectors was also slightly down.
Christies Part I total of £33.4m on June 27 was their highest for an Impressionist
and Modern sale in London since 1989, but only 28 per cent of the lots were bought by
Americans, who can usually be relied upon to buy between 40-45 per cent of these London
Part I sales.
In terms of individual lots, Sothebys Claude Monet canvas, Meules, Derniers Rayons
de Soleil, was the undoubted star of the week when it sold on Tuesday evening to an
anonymous telephone buyer for £9.2m underbid by London dealer Ezra Nahmad in the room.
Number 3 in Durand-Ruels famous 1891 exhibition of Monets
Grainstacks series, the privately-entered painting had never been offered at
auction before and carried an estimate of £5-7m. No fewer than five works exceeded £2m
at Sothebys with Henry Neville of Mallett the conspicuous buyer of Monets Au
Parc Monceau and Van Goghs Eglogue en Provence Un Couple dAmoureux at £3.4m
and £2.6m apiece.
The previous evening at Christies Maurice de Vlamincks 1905 canvas Peniche sur
la Seine confirmed the current demand for Fauvist painting with a sale-topping £4.3m from
London dealer Thomas Gibson, closely followed by the record £4m paid by the Lefevre
Gallery for Juan Griss 1914 Cubist canvas, Le Guéridon, prices which were both at
least double their estimates.
By contrast, demand at Christies £4m Post-War sale which immediately followed was
much more muted. With quality works by major names in short supply, no lot exceeded
£700,000 and the only work to trigger seriously competitive bidding was Eduardo
Chilidas unique 1987 iron sculpture, Besaka, which sold to a European collector for
a record £460,000. After the sale senior staff at Christies intimated that their
policy of presenting Post-War art in a separate catalogue on the same night as the
Impressionist and Moderns in London may be up for revision.
Subject: Taking care of your glass
LECCO, Italy, July 14, 2001 - Much of the advice on handling glass is just plain
commonsense but it is probably worth repeating because a moment's inattention or
carelessness could destroy a beautiful, expensive and irreplaceable object that has
survived for many years.
Never just push a glass object to move it, always pick it up and place it where you want
Always check that any glass object is one piece only and that a separate lid, base or
stopper is not going to fall off - this is particularly important when looking at things
in shops because usually breakages must be paid for.
Any glass that has flaking decoration should be only be handled when absolutely necessary.
If glass has been broken and then repaired, always check that the join is still good when
picking up the object.
Never pick up glass vessels by the rim. It is preferable to use two hands, one under the
object and the other around the side.
Never put antique or collectable glass in a dishwasher because it may get chipped and it
may give lead glass a surface bloom which cannot be removed.
Never wash glass that is worn or has flaking painting or gilding, glass that has been
repaired or restored or has metal mounts.
Never use window cleaning or other glass cleaning products on antique glass.
Before washing, dust glass objects with a soft artist's paintbrush.
Wash items one at a time, never put several pieces in a washing up bowl or sink together.
Cover taps with a cloth or other soft material to guard against knocks. It is also a good
idea to put something soft in the bottom of the sink in case a piece of glass slips
through your fingers when wet.
Only use warm water and a few drops of washing up liquid.
Do not scrub or apply pressure on the glass particularly around delicate areas like the
rims of bowls or glasses.
Rinse the glass well after washing and stand the objects to dry on a towel or sheets of
absorbent kitchen roll. When the excess water has drained off, finish drying and polish
with a soft lint-free cloth.
Do not replace stoppers in decanters until both are absolutely dry or the stoppers may
If a stopper is stuck in a decanter it may be possible to free it by spraying a thin oil
between the stopper and the neck. Leave the decanter in a warm place and allow the oil to
penetrate and then gently try to remove the stopper. Do not use force or you will break
the neck of the decanter.
If this doesn't work try placing the decanter in the refrigerator for about 24 hours and
then try to remove the stopper.
If you have a narrow necked vessel that is discoloured, fill it with water and put in two
denture cleaning tablets.
The dried remains in perfume bottles can be cleaned with methylated spirits. Leave the
meths in the bottle for about an hour then empty it and rinse. If the perfume residue
remains, repeat until it has disappeared. When it is finally removed, wash the perfume
bottle as described above for other glass. Again, do not put the stopper in the bottle
until both are absolutely dry.
Never ever wash Chinese snuff bottles, always take them to a specialist for cleaning.
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